Environmental groups voiced concerns through postcards and press conferences over proposed rules they claim would restrict rather than enhance access to New Jersey's beaches. A proposed plan would permit local towns to establish access plans that would be reviewed by the State. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) would then be able to reduce funding for open space purchases or assign towns a lower priority if they fail to provide adequate access. Pro-access groups claim the proposed rules would permit a municipality to exclude the public from accessing beaches in favor of private property owners with beachfront properties. It is unclear whether the access points would be through existing access or acquired from private property owners.
Under the public trust doctrine, the state owns and holds lands washed by tidal waters in trust for the general public. Across the United States, lands and waters which are subject to public trust rights are generally to either the ordinary high water line or the ordinary low water line and the lands lying beneath them. States mark the boundary for public trust purposes at either the ordinary high water line or at the ordinary low water line. New Jersey is a "high water" state and it establishes the upland boundary of lands owned by the state at the Mean High Water (MHW) or the mean high tide line.
To read more about the proposed rule, please see the following newspaper articles:
Jersey shore fans inundate Christie with mail – Associated Press
N.J. environmentalists oppose plan to let locals set beach access points – The Star-Ledger
Beach access is state's job – The Asbury Park Press
To read more about beach access and property rights, please see the following blog posts:
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